For Shifting Mountains, or Climbing Them, Jeep’s Wrangler Goes Diesel

ST. GEORGE, Utah — Jeep has been on this quest for many years — “the Holy Grail,” stated Jim Morrison, the marque’s boss since June — for a diesel engine appropriate for the Wrangler.

“Since I’ve been on this job, the three issues Jeep prospects hold telling me they need are a pickup truck, a diesel in a Wrangler and the return of the Wagoneer,” Mr. Morrison stated final month at a media occasion in Utah. “We delivered on the truck with the introduction of the Gladiator. Right here, we’re unveiling the primary Wrangler EcoDiesel. No touch upon the Wagoneer.”

He added: “The purchasers had been proper. This model of the Wrangler has the proper mixture of driving dynamics, four-by-four functionality, gas economic system and torque.”

In a means, it has made little sense that the Wrangler by no means had a diesel choice in its many years of existence. Gasoline engines are fitted to velocity — which the boxy, high-riding Wrangler itself will not be. Gasoline engines get inherently worse gas economic system.

For the reason that first EcoDiesel appeared in 2011, Fiat Chrysler has been making an attempt to excellent it for use in automobiles like its Ram pickups and the Wrangler, the place buyer demand has been vocal. However outcomes have been combined. A second era, launched in 2014, promised enhancements in reliability, gas economic system and emissions. It didn’t ship.

Put in in 2014-16 Ram pickups and Jeep Grand Cherokees, the wayward second-generation EcoDiesel was pulled from the market when it was discovered to be in violation of emissions requirements. A negotiated settlement with the federal government, which required a recall of the affected automobiles, revamped emissions controls, prolonged warranties and $3,000-plus funds to homeowners, took almost a billion-dollar chew out of the corporate’s backside line. (Simply final month, Fiat Chrysler needed to recall an extra 108,000 Ram EcoDiesels from the 2014-19 mannequin years for exhaust gasoline recirculation cooler cracks and system leaks.)

The problematic EcoDiesel successfully disadvantaged the corporate of the type of diesel providing it wanted at a time when Ford and Common Motors had been having fun with robust gross sales of their diesel-equipped vehicles (albeit with their very own shares of reliability and emissions-related points).

So, again in 2015, the diesel specialist Mauro Puglia, at Fiat’s V.M. Motori engine works in Cento, Italy, was tasked with arising with a viable alternative, able to assembly ever-stiffer emissions guidelines.

Now, 4 years later, Mr. Puglia stated his work was full. In automotive improvement circles, the four-year timeline may very well be thought-about one thing of a rush order.

“I’m now able to go residence. I’ve been right here in America for 3 years, plus one other 12 months in Italy, engaged on perfecting this engine,” Mr. Puglia stated wearily. “We needed to meet very demanding targets: larger efficiency, larger torque, larger energy, larger gas economic system, decrease emissions.”

The Gen III EcoDiesel, in barely completely different type, made its debut in a Ram 1500 pickup a number of months in the past. The model for the 2020 Wrangler took a bit of longer to plumb for anticipated Jeep-like duties like fording streams, bashing boulders, hauling toys and, after all, being tarted-up with hundreds of combos of equipment.

The engine is a turbocharged V6 that displaces liters, and it’s geared up with some beefier elements than the Ram model. It’s an important 15 kilos lighter than a Gen II model — though the entire bundle provides as much as 500 kilos to the Wrangler inventory curb weight.

Crucially, for emissions compliance, it comes with an extra-large, five-gallon diesel exhaust fluid canister, with a 10,000-mile responsibility cycle — conveniently about the identical interval as an oil change. That tank is so giant Jeep needed to design a particular underbody skid plate piece to guard it.

The engine produces a modest 260 horsepower, however a stout 442 pounds-feet of torque.

The EcoDiesel within the Wrangler comes mated to an eight-speed computerized. Though the Ram EcoDiesel might be ordered with a six-speed handbook, Jeep calculated that there could be inadequate demand for it. Additionally, the EcoDiesel is obtainable solely within the four-door Wrangler, not the two-door mannequin. That ranks as a little bit of a disappointment for hard-core Jeep “overlanders” who had been wanting ahead to having the ability to enterprise ever deeper into the outback with it.

“Ninety p.c of the Wranglers we promote today are four-door fashions,” Mr. Milo stated. The proportion of handbook transmission fashions is likewise low.

Jeep didn’t launch anticipated gross sales figures, however Mr. Morrison believes they are going to be akin to the take charge on different gasoline engines which are non-obligatory on the Wrangler.

In testing in Utah final month, the EcoDiesel offered a much-improved customary of functionality for the boxy Wrangler. It presents torque-rich energy supply, particularly on steep grades. Off street, no activity gave the impression to be too robust to tame. On street, it may theoretically go greater than 500 miles on a single tank — whereas a gasoline-powered model would possibly wrestle to journey 300 miles.

Nevertheless it’s not low cost — the engine itself is a $3,000 to $4,000 upcharge. Essentially the most fundamental Wrangler Sport EcoDiesel begins at slightly below $40,000, whereas a completely loaded Rubicon EcoDiesel may simply high $60,000.

As as to if its emissions woes are lastly behind it, solely time will inform.

For Shifting Mountains, or Climbing Them, Jeep’s Wrangler Goes Diesel – Information by


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